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Translated by the author
in the background: hardened mud,
green planets’ vapours, muted tempest,
a vegetal erection of oaks
your face reddened, hollowed out:
rest burns obscurely, uselessly, behind
your back
behold: your name is the Standing,
detaching self from shadow,
but keeping voice entangled in a ball of
black lips

chalk-powder floating blindly in the
twilight of a tent or straw-hut, mud,
octopus-juice stains from the turbid
clasped in a limb-knot: not the chill,
not the timidity: beyond the face of
self, your profile drowns in a jungle of
snakes and deadly frogs
behold: your name is Black Flame, dark
rays piercing the mist, moon-child,
stone dripping in infants’ eyes
cave, hill tunnel,
end, ground and essence of every stellar
orphan room of candles and kettles
in burning lava, out of burning lava,
the eyes of self trim out your face
your hair and shoulders bear the gift
of desert-night manna
jahweh’s carving on the Sinai is
exchanged for the dream of your forbidden
face: whoever you were or might have been
dull and poor, unrefined, bare,
furrowed through and scratched all over:
behind you stand the remains of your
craft, the uneven and the unwanted,
the false, the wrong,
the defective, the approximate
no throw-aways: every brick hangs on top
of a lower one until there’s no end to
the breadth and width of brown-shadowed
on their foreground the blinking circles
of Olympus’ deities spin unrestrained:
your name is Indra and Iris
gold and embroidery, woollen
balancing bowls of dragons’ blood,
an overpowering circular enwrapment,
a purple monsoon of cloth, warmth,
no unrestrained exposure: a plaited
drowning, darkly, of hair within itself
your name’s an entanglement of plant,
rain and sun
long sheets are wrung and rolled into
ropes – roots wriggling down through red
hairy earth
a twisted crown-turban
a layered abundance clothing the
undulations of the self
torched corpses on the Ganges’ shores:
no night leaves my eyes unlit
green phosphorescence from a sack-cloth
sky, down to the sack-cloth depths
a wolves’ grey lair
and a dust-coating of rythmic, dripping,
entombing time
a viper’s hole, Venom’s your name,
or, possibly, Cure
ready for the killing
lifted on a milk-bed’s surge,
an ocean-bed roused up in lapping
the bounds of self undone only when,
flower-like, they’re disowned in wiltdom
moon and scythe joined into
a double-edged axe
after night and milk, a third immersion
of the self: incense shroud
window sill, threshold, shore:
your name is all beginning
churchyard, pavement, precinct,
a marble slab or polished hardstone lifts
you, dangles you at the void
no hand sustaining, sheltering, safe-
but a dread that propels and freezes,
stopping you from turning back
unbalancing till self is torn from self
becoming him, her and other
a whole self’s wealth in a sack-cloth
what an excess of clothing,
buttons and buckles holding back
everything from loosening off, messing
up, breaking out
emerging always from a larger, heavier,
darker self,
holding you fast but never facing you
standing behind or next to you
but never there alongside your being,
at times even opposing you
spreading his wrinkled self onto your
soiling you with merits of unknown
origin and consequence
your name is His and thus, from
the very beginning, you’re baptised in
unlocked enclosure: low walls,
gates, two-dozen-tiered mud-clod murals,
reedy windbreakers
the abode of self within them and higher:
one dash brings you to the edge of the
another dash to measure the million years
of your to-ing and fro-ing
Running is your name, unending cascade,
wherever you’ve been and still stand,
all through which you’ve passed and are
ever passing
window pane: a face, a street, shrubs,
a handle, a lock, a chrome frame
bordering the triangular glass
back-window: outdated upholstery, cube-
dimensions, a door unlockable no matter
how hard it’s slammed
a monsoon’s poured out on the road,
then it stops and a thousand
orphaned puddles are left behind,
children’s mirrors
not a globular halo but a distending
extremities in self-searching approach,
completed umbrella
red planet, reddish glare
a blushing, shrinking sobriety,
buoyant bubble on a sea of milk
red rod sinking into
expectant clawed fingers,
masterfully in control
holy, holy, holy: raised alongside
sovereigns, but, all smiles, you walk
off from amongst them,
cold-shouldering all
nothing unblended within, the sound of
self enmeshed in the general commotion,
your gaze fixed elsewhere,
skin-tone sipping star-shine, hair
darkened in blood-clot murk
all-being, encompassing all self,
the sun enlightening, engirdling a
oven-fired infernos lick the walls,      
ablaze aloud, orange-fruit, topaz-stone
curved back in recoil, fire-ball,
wrapped, rolled-up sleevefolds spinning
then, in upward flaming spirals,
throngs and swarming crowds surging forward,
reaching out, thrusting out
in praise, in prayer, in the streets,
incense columns fuming out, thundering
thudding of elephants, cows, crows
screened off, self-gathered, by a
flaming veil that dries up all this
softly enclosing self in self’s dark
in a coreless perimeter
silver bobbin suspended motionless
at the centre of you

clay and soil: plaster, stucco,
woodwork, hair,
tablecloth dressed over as a sand-screen,
skin, cheeks, eyebrows, chin,
forehead, irises
form appearing in Nebucadnezzar’s dream,
subdued landscape: blossoms and
colours of exile’s gardens
a gathering of men: hide-out, half-
darkness, twilight, erratic flickering
windowline now hidden, now revealed by
passers-by outside,
clanking metal on metal, rustling
clothing, sandals crunching sand
the diminutive room is no one’s
restraint: each one self-possessed,
hugging knees in self-embrace,
each one delineated in blinding
mountain snow,
suppressed shudders emerging
in warmth-eruptions from an unending
deep-seated blaze
a coronation of peaks: orbital circle,
planets and moons, rings around many a
boiling gold, flowing magma,
copper, bronz, lead and other
hardened by scorching winds,
sulphuric vapours from
dragon’s face’s orifices
the self’s voice is a dispersal of
coloured smoke
rising ancient sun
over scattered earth’s faces
self’s beauty pinnacles in a pandemonium
of dancing clangour: chain ringlets,
carved bone, coins, bobbins, rings
running on leather-string necklaces,
feathers and paint,
bright white splotches,
a spider’s web of green thread
dead fire, snuffed out behind a
head-high screen: desert heaviness
the far-flung migrates over all expanses
adjoined, admixed with it all is self:
its name is Distance Unbreached,
length and breadth
of all that’s wide open within all being

Mercieca Caldon
Translated by the author